There’s an animated video making its way around the legal blogosphere in which a cynical older lawyer tries to convince an idealistic prospective law student not to go to law school. As a non-lawyer, I’m probably missing half the jokes, but it’s still pretty funny.
I was more fascinated, however, by the web site used to create the video, xtranormal.com, which provides tools for anyone to make a video in a similar style. Once you register for a free account, you can use a simple interface to create the shooting script. You can change the characters and setting, and you can annotate the script with facial expressions, animations, sound effects, and changes in camera angle. When you’re ready to see what you created, the site can generate a low-res version of the video for you to preview. Once you’ve got something you like, you can re-render a high-quality version for downloading and publication.
I had to give this a try. In keeping with the theme of the first video, I made it about what I do for a living. I don’t know what the job market is like for a beginning software developer, but I’m not nearly as cynical about my job as these lawyers are about theirs. Still, there are some annoying surprises for people just out of school. After a few years, the surprise factor is gone, and only the annoyance remains.
So here’s my video of a conversation in which Mark, a software engineer, finds out about his next software project from Ted, the boss. My clients are too smart to waste my time and their money this way, but back when I was an employee at a mid-size corporation, I had a depressing number of conversations like this. You see, a lot of people launch software projects with almost no thought to the details, except for one curiously specific requirement…